DuMOL Joy Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017


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“The 2017 Pinot Noir Joy Road Vineyard boasts extraordinary aromatic presence and tons of sheer sensuality. Sweet red cherry, raspberry jam, pomegranate, blood orange and mint give the Joy Road its distinctive personality. The 2017 is rich and exotic, but not at all heavy. And that is the magic of the coast. Drinking window: 2022-2032. 95 points

Over the years, I have learned to allow for plenty of time for my tastings at DuMol. I was super-impressed with the wines I tasted on my last visit. Andy Smith continues to grow the range thoughtfully. The Chardonnays and Pinots remain the strong suits, mostly because they form the core of the range and have really been fine tuned over time. The 2017 Chardonnays have turned out just as well as I had hoped they would. The wines are rich, deep and full of character. Today, I favor the 2017s over the 2018s, which come across as lighter. Then again, the Chardonnays see pretty long élevage (by California standards) of 11 months in oak and 6 months in steel (for the vineyard designates) so there is plenty of time for the 2018s to perhaps gain a bit more dimension. The two vintages appear closer in quality for Pinot Noir. Smith opted to handle the 2018s very gently in the cellar, and did half the number of punchdowns than the norm. Both the 2017s and 2018s are vivid and super-expressive. I favor 2018 over 2017 for the Cabernets and Syrahs, as the longer and more benign growing season was clearly more favorable for both varieties.”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (01/20)